Eyes will be on Orioles' Roberts

Eyes will be on Orioles' Roberts
February 23, 2013, 3:15 am
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Most Orioles fans have to be rooting for Brian Roberts to make it back to something approaching the player he once was before a series of injuries — mainly concussions — put his career on hold.

But he must rank as one of the Orioles’ most intriguing spring training stories. As the O’s start their exhibition schedule, if Roberts looks like he has the chance to again be a productive major-league second baseman — an entity the Orioles didn’t really have last season — at age 35, it’s smiles all around.

However, what if Roberts struggles at the start of the Grapefruit League schedule? What if he continues to struggle?  And what if, by the end of spring training, he’s still struggling, yet Roberts wants to keep plugging away?

That’s a tough call for club executive Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter. Do they go into the season with Roberts as their second baseman, still not certain exactly what he can give the team? Or do they decide they need to see that Roberts can hit better than the .182 he gave the O’s in his abortive, 17-game season in 2012?

With the absence of any real position battles this spring, the spotlight will fall on second base.